Dare a Rappler: Join a Chinese dragon dance
MANILA, Philippines – Every Chinese New Year, the mythical Chinese dragons roam the streets to bring good fortune to people. With the aid of dancers, the dragons move and sway to the beat of the drum.
How does it feel to be in a Chinese dragon dance?
Rappler's Michael Bueza joined one dragon dance group to find out. Watch his experience in this video:
I’m Michael Bueza and I’m from Rappler. A friend asked me if I was up to the challenge of joining a dragon dance group. And today, I did just that.
I joined the Golden Dragons dance group in Chinatown in Binondo, Manila. Their Chinese dragon dance set consists of one dragon, one big ball that acts as the dragon’s pearl, two lions, one drum and one cymbal. Two persons fit into each lion costume, while one dancer holds one pole each to form the dragon. The more poles, the longer the dragon.
A separate pole for the dragon’s pearl, which would be “chased” by the dragon head, will be held by another dancer. One person will strike the Chinese drum, while another pulls the wheeled drum platform. There’s another person playing the cymbals, in sync with the drums.
The dragon and the lions would “roam” around Chinatown and other nearby areas to collect ampao, or red envelopes containing cash. It is said that houses and businesses that give ampao stand to receive more blessings and good fortune.
These are what I learned: if you want to join a dragon dance group, you have to be ready for a long walk. You will also go through crowded areas, because most of the streets in Chinatown are narrow. People, street vendors, and even vehicles share the road with you. If you're managing the group, you really have to know where to go. Some business establishments give ampao or red envelopes containing cash, and some do not. Finally, just go with the flow, and enjoy the experience.
I tried lion dancing and holding the dragon's pearl. Playing the drums is not for anybody, though, because there are certain beats that you need to play, depending on what is happening.
It’s fun, exhilarating, and tiring. It’s also a great way to get into the spirit of the New Year. So that was my Rappler dare for Chinese New Year. Kong Hei Fat Choi! – Rappler.com
There are lots of fun and novel experiences the world has to offer, and it's just a matter of going out and doing it! Dare a Rappler is a segment where Rapplers try out these cool, new experiences, and inspire you to live life to the fullest!
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